“Walk By the Spirit, Live By The Spirit And Keep In Step With The Spirit!”(Gal.5:16-25).
In primal religions and even in world religions fruits are often a symbol of abundance from the deities of fertility, plenty and harvest. Fruit also represent earthly pleasures, overindulgence and temptation.
In the Old Testament fruit is both good and evil. Adam and Eve were given the latitude to enjoy the fruits of all the trees in the garden; except the fruit of one tree. While the fruits of all the trees were the source of life, that one tree whose fruits contained the knowledge of good and evil became the source of temptation, sin and death.
The Lord Jesus Christ says, “By their fruits we shall know them”. This is to say all humans are like trees and bear fruits. But what kind of fruit? Some fruits are known to be dangerously poisonous, some are not edible and some are health generating.
Fruits are among the top foods that are recommended for healthy living.
The assurance of healthy fruits requires hard labour from the farmer. This begins from selecting good fruit seeds, nursing and tending till it is ready for transplanting. When the seedling has been transplanted the farmer makes sure that the plant receives enough manure, and that the plant is not covered by weed and wild shrubs.
It is after a long process of cultivating around the plant that the farmer is confident of harvesting good fruits. Even so, one is not too sure of good fruits. A tree may be known by its fruits, but not all fruits are good. For example, we know plum trees when they produce plums. But some plums are so sour that even birds refuse to eat them.
However, when the fruits are good, the farmer can enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Accordingly, the fruits of your labours means “the profits or gains achieved as a result of hard work.”
In this sense fruit is not only what is harvested from the farm. Fruit becomes a metaphor for the result of hard work.
From a biblical perspective there are two kinds of soils on which we sow. The fruits that grow in us depend on the ground on which we sow.
We either sow in the flesh or in the Spirit. These two grounds are diametrically opposed to each other. “The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.”
These two are in conflict with each other, and this causes us no to do whatever we want.
Our souls become battle grounds and keeps us at the crossroads of indecision and inability. Like the writer of Romans put it, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it…”(Rom.7:18a-25).
As long as sin still lives in us, the acts of the flesh become obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatory and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits if rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like.”
“And the like” means the list is long! And who can be that saint among us who at one moment or the other is not guilty of one or more of the above vices?
This is not to say we cannot be the saints that we should be. The LORD says we should be holy for he is holy. In the text Paul warns, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
However, like we said earlier, to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour is the result of hard work. In the same way we must work hard to weed out the weeds of fleshly actions to be able to become trees of the Spirit, producing befiting fruit of the Spirit. These include: “love, joy, peace, forebearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
When we belong to Christ Jesus we should Crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
My friend, it is true that some weeds may take time to be completely destroyed, but with constant effort it will be destroyed, thus giving way for a healthy tree that produces the desired fruit.
Weekend prayer: Heavenly Father, guide my path to live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Prayer point: Pray for Spirit-filled Christian communities.
Rev Babila Fochang.